Saturday, 25 March 2017

Happy Mother`s Day - 2017

To All Mum`s Have An Amazing, Fabulous Mothers Day ! 

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Friday, 17 March 2017

Annual Passes Are they Worth it?

Zoo Membership - Covers London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo

Price £65 per year (individual)

It is £22.50 to go into Whipsnade Zoo and a little more for London Zoo so after three visits you are saving money. What could be nicer that popping into the Zoo each week to see the animals.

Getting close to the Lions at Whipsnade Zoo - Isabella


 Price £208.80 per year per person

It is £7.20 to go into the cinema so if you went once a week that is a saving of a least £150.  You would probably go more often though and you can go any day you like. No waiting for cheap nights early in the week.

National Trust 

 (individual) £65.00 per year  

From fabulous houses and gardens to coastal paths and forests the National Trust does an amazing job protecting it all.  Once you have your pass you can park free at National Trust Properties and enjoy viewing houses and gardens etc free all year.

National Trust protects coasts as well as forests, Houses and wildlife

 English Heritage 

 (1 adult and up to six children) £52 per year

 Castles are just some of the fabulous places to visit


Merlin Card 

 (individual) £179.00

Cheaper if you are buying a family card

London Eye,Theme Parks, and the London Dungeon are just some of the places you can go to with a Merlin Pass.

Madame Tussauds  - singing with Freddie

Approx £600 per year -  or £50 per month. That is the social live sort though! You wouldn`t be wondering what to do with yourself and it is easier to budget.

Legoland  go all year with a Merlin Card

Add a Tastecard ( around £40 a year) for half price meals or just take a packed lunch. 

I think they are all very good value.

I know it is more expensive if you have a family but you do get family discounts too. Add free parking with the Merlin and National Trust cards, discounts on food and drinks and over a year it has to be cheaper than paying each time you go out.

You could just buy a zoo membership, or an English Heritage Membership and have great days out throughout the year. I buy these and the National Trust Card.

family fun - Legoland

I paid £450 for a family Merlin Premium Card (2 adults 2 children) in January when Merlin offered a discount. The year only starts from when you first use the card. Which was March for us when we went to London for the day.

Last year when we did this we used our Merlin Card over 20 times during the year. That meant a massive saving and the bonus of no long queues as you get fast track entrance to places.

Grab a cheap place to stay and hit the theme parks for a few days.

University Rooms to Churches - best budget places to stay

This is not a sponsored post I did not receive any incentives for writing this post.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Five Fabulous Frugal Things This Week

Five Frugal Things

Week Ending 17/3/2017

#1 Swimming

It was such a lovely day on Monday I decided to go swimming. I have a discount card so it only costs me £2.50. Great exercise and I really enjoyed it and now the weather is better I will go every week.

#2 Walking 

I went walking in St Albans park which is not far in a car from were I live. It was quiet as the weather was not good, these beautiful swans were after my lunch. I thought they looked so sweet all lined up so I did give them half my sandwich.

Shall we get away from the riff raff? by Christine Reid

#3 Flowers

I love having flowers in my house so I decided to buy a plant this week so that it would last a while. Then I saw these flowers for £1.20 and bought them too.

£1.20 Yellow Sticker Tesco

£3 plant from Supermarket
#4 Freezer Stocktake

Enough for well over 20 meals in my freezer so not buying anything other than fresh bread and fruit this week. I am aiming for six no spend days this week.

#5 Cash 

£10 from MintVine survey Site cashback from Quidco and cash from mystery shopping.  Very nice and every pound counts. Add my usual free coffee at cafe Nero with o2 and it has been a nice week. I am saving up to take Isabella and Alice to Whipsnade Zoo   Here is the link for tickets  Zoolink  at Easter. It is expensive but last time we went the girls loved it.

Flamingos at the zoo - C Reid

Places to go in Herts, Beds and Bucks

Abbots Kitchen Cafe St Albans Cathedral

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Scotland - Dolphins, Whales and Puffins

Have you ever seen fabulous dolphins swimming at the side of your boat?

Seen them showing off their babies and playing in the water?

We did on this amazing boat trip in Scotland.

 Watch the our video here.
We traveled to Inverness on easyjet from Luton . Hired a car then headed to:  

Hebridean Whale Cruises
Address: Pier Rd, Gairloch IV21 2BQ

I won this trip in a competition held by Nutella full details on the prize is in this post My Winning Hobby

Whales surfaced in the distant and puffins filled the cliffs. seals bobbed near the shoreline and otters hid behind the rocks.
The boat trip cost £75 per person and lasted around 3 hours.  It was amazing.  We didn`t have to pay it was all part of this fabulous prize.
Misty around the cliffs

Highlands from the boat

We stayed in Scotland overnight  in a hotel near the harbour  and flew back to Luton the next day. It was an amazing experience and one I would love to do again.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Five Fabulous Frugal Things This Week

Week ending 10/3/2017

I’m linking up with CassEmma  and Becky in this week’s `Five Fabulously Frugal Things`

 #1 Mystery Shopping

Two mystery shops this week which is very nice as not many become available in my area. I joined up after reading a post on and used the referral link. I really enjoy it so hoping plenty more jobs come up as the weather improves.

Mystery shopping Information

Mystery Shopping

I would get a small payment if you joined via my link and went on to complete a mystery shop.

My Referral link

#2 Slow Cooker Chicken

I cooked a chicken in slow cooker then shredded it. It made
2 roast dinners, 2 chicken and pasta lunches, two stir fry meals, 2 chicken wraps and a vat of soup. Chicken Soup Cost £4 for the chicken. Bought in M/S because they have a good animal welfare policy. More than happy with that.

#3 Walking

Added the health app to my phone so I am now tracking my walking.
Great incentive to walk more. I am aiming for 10 miles a week, App is free, walking is free and it makes you feel better. I went on a canal walk and as I was taking photo`s I didn`t notice how far I had walked. I walked 2.8 miles, making 12.4 miles this week. More than I hoped for so.

I will be following some of the many wonderful Waterway Walks over the coming weeks.  Link    Waterway Walks

Grand Union Canal

#4 Studied this great blog

Link    The Money Shed 

I haven`t really thought much about making money from my blog, I always just post my photo`s and talk about London in particular. I have very few followers on the blog although on Pinterest  and twitter I have a good following.

I thought it was time to see what was possible and to be honest I am staggered by the amount of information freely available.  I am sure its very hard to make a living from a blog but any money at all is a bonus.

Skint Dad`s blog is brilliant for information on money saving and survey sites.  

Link  Skint Dad

I have never got to grips with Match Betting,  I understand the first sign ups and how that works. After that I am lost and I wish someone would set up an interactive workshop about it.

Link Match Betting

#5 Quidco and o2

Took advantage of a few clicksnap offers on Quidco which I check before going shopping. My social life now seems to revolve around the o2 offers. I meet friends for a free coffee at Cafe Nero on a Tuesday.  We also go to Pizza Express for lunch one day a week where a main meal is £5 using the app offer.

I`m Off - Canal Walk

Staying in University Rooms in Central London;postID=1347278831951208759;onPublishedMenu=template;onClosedMenu=template;postNum=3;src=link

walks, mystery shopping, grand union canal, boats, Quidco, o2, Moneyshed,

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Sunshine and Canal Walks

Seeing the sunshine always makes me want to get outdoors with my camera so today I went for a walk along part of the Grand Union Canal. It is not far from where I live and is a lovely place to walk.

Take Off! - C Reid

 I was lucky to snap this beauty just taking off from the water.

Geese relaxing in the sun
 The geese took a more leisurely approach to the sunshine opting for a snooze on the canal bank.

Canal boats 

 I saw old and new canal boats tied up but I didn`t see any cruising down the canal. Perhaps its still a little early in the season. I saw plenty of dog walkers and canal fishermen.

Canal fisherman

 I sat by the lock and enjoyed my packed lunch which I brought from home. Sometimes in the summer its nice to sit in a pub garden and watch the boats go by. There are quite a few pubs along the Hemel Hempstead to Berkhamstead Canal Walk.

Canal Lock

 I saw this beautiful Heron fishing for his dinner in a stream near the canal. The birds were out busy collecting twigs for their nests and I felt very lucky to have seen so much in a few hours. I was also quite pleased to see I had walked 2.8 miles according to my phone app.

 Hertfordshire Walking  information can be found here:

There is something very soothing about getting out alone for a nice walk and just watching the world go by. It is free too!

When I wrote about supporting my daughter Katrina with mouth cancer I didn`t think I would ever smile again. 

Katrina - update 

walking, hertfordshire, canals, canal boats, heron, fishing, pubs.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

From University Rooms to Churches - Best places to stay on a Budget

Stay in a University Room right in the centre of  London

The best places to stay on a budget in London.

Trafalgar Square - A Reid
Great for families too.

You can even book a two bed apartment with university rooms, now wouldn`t that be nice for New Years Eve.  You could watch all the wonderful fireworks then wander back to your apartment without having to pay the expensive hotel costs.

I stayed in a university room when I went to Edinburgh and it was excellent. Minutes from the Royal Mile and just behind a very expensive hotel. It was a six bedroomed flat with two bathrooms and a large kitchen/dining area. I paid £28 per night for one room. There was only one other room occupied.

Edinburgh Castle - C Reid

I have also stayed in university rooms in Oxford, again they were excellent and very central. I got my own single bedroom, a bathroom shared with three other rooms, and a very filling buffet breakfast. all set in a beautiful old college with its own garden square.

Oxford  -  A. Reid

Fancy a few days away from London during your holiday?

How about staying in a church!

`Champing` - Camping in a Church

I have just booked this one in Cumbria for two nights for two people. Once you make your booking the church is yours, for your private use. You do not have strangers sharing with you. Imagine the fun kids would have camping in a church.

£225 for two people for two night in August 2017. 

The Churches Conservation Trust - Anytime Booking:
St. Marys Church Cumbria

It is basic, cold and you might see a few mice or ghosts from the local graveyard. Looks good fun though and this church is surrounded by mountains, it is ideal for hikers and you can take your dog. Sometimes you have to try different things just for the experience.

You need to take your own bedding but camp beds, chairs, and battery operated candles are provided. A great breakfast is brought by a local farm or pub each morning. You also get a loo with a view no going out to the graveyard with a torch, just as well you might give yourself a fright.

 You can book here:

You are given a list of things to take with you but I will certainly be adding extra batteries for the candles. A good torch and a eye mask just in case the stained glass windows were designed to catch the sunrise. 

Read this great review here about `champing` and see what you think.


This is not a sponsored post, no incentives were received for writing this post. It is my own opinion. 

FREE :  `Ceremony of the Key` tickets for Tower of London



Stay in Windsor 

Beautiful Historic Windsor - A Review

You Could Fly to Dublin for £19.99

holidays, champing, London, Edinburgh, Oxford, photogrphs, university, universityrooms, glamping, St Mays Church Cumbria,/camping.